Burning Spear News
Charles Barron is Back: His Unique Rise to Power, East New York’s Forgotten Socialist Dynasty, and the Never Ending Narrative Wars
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“The socialist left is on the rise, particularly in neighborhoods where Black and Latino residents are being gentrified out of existence” declared Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Jeffries, the fourth ranking House Democrat (and potential future speaker of the house), represents New York’s 8th Congressional District, which includes predominantly black neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and East New York. He is a fervent critic of New York City’s ascendant socialist left, frequently taking aim at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Justice Democrats, and the Democratic Socialists of America, as they continue to amass power and influence. Jeffries, future Mayor Eric Adams, and their political allies contend that socialism is only appealing to white gentrifiers, and that politicians who champion policies like defunding the police are out of touch with the city’s working class voters. These talking points are echoed by the New York Times and other national news outlets, especially in their post-mortem analysis of the 2021 Democratic Mayoral Primary. Much of this analysis lacks nuance and is overly simplistic.
Overlooked in these narratives are both Charles and Inez Barron, who have formed a socialist dynasty in the working class, predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhoods of East New York, with parts of Brownsville and Canarsie.
For this piece, I will profile one-half of this powerful couple: the self-proclaimed radical and “elected activist”, Charles Barron. I will examine his rise to power, detail his commitment to socialism and Black Power, and describe his appeal while considering his limitations. Lastly, I will look ahead at Barron’s future, while exploring how both Charles and Inez have shattered pervasive narratives around socialism, gentrification, and policing in New York City.